One-Third of Convicted Sex Offenders Don’t Face Prison in Britain: Report

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: A message is seen among the flowers on Clapham Common where floral tributes have been placed for Sarah Everard on March 13, 2021 in London, England. Vigils are being held across the United Kingdom in memory Sarah Everard. Yesterday, the police confirmed that the remains …
Leon Neal/Getty Images

The British judicial system has failed to imprison one-third of convicted sexual offenders, including child predators, in England and Wales over the past seven years.

A report has found that 14,530 of the 44,721 convicted adult sex offenders avoided prison time, receiving instead merely suspended or community sentences, between 2013 and 2020.

The investigation carried out by the Observer found that just over 60 per cent of convicted sex offenders were immediately imprisoned, while the remainder of offenders were given slap-on-the-wrist treatment, such as fines or conditional discharges.

The report went on to claim that some of those who escaped jail time included people convicted of sexual assaults against children under the age of 13 and others who engaged in sexual activity with underage teens.

Data went on to reveal that nearly one-fifth of adults (371 of 2,075) who were found to have committed non-penetrative sexual assault against girls under the age of 13 was not sent to prison during the same time period.

A further 20 per cent of adults convicted for penetrative sexual activity with teenage girls between 13 and 15 years old were only subjected to suspended or community sentences. Some 40 per cent of those sentenced for non-penetrative sexual acts with girls in the same age range also escaped prison time.

A solicitor at the Centre for Women’s Justice, Kate Ellis, said in response to the findings: “I think these figures are very concerning. It does seem hard to explain why so many offenders accused of serious sexual offences, including offences against children under 13, would not face an immediate custodial sentence.”

Labour MP Stella Creasy said: “The government must urgently explain why under their watch thousands of serious sexual offenders who have abused children and young girls, in particular, are getting a slap on the wrist or a fine at most,” adding: “We don’t need more consultations or strategies or heartfelt apologies, we need answers and actions now.”

A spokesperson for the Sentencing Council defended the system, saying: “Sentencing guidelines are developed to ensure sentences are consistent, transparent and proportionate to the offence, following public consultation. Judges and magistrates will consider all the relevant facts in an individual case before passing sentence.

“Sentencing requires judges and magistrates to consider the culpability of the offender and the harm caused. This enables them to put the case into an appropriate category for which the guideline indicates a starting point, before considering any aggravating or mitigating factors specific to the case and the offender.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson added: “Sexual offenders are spending longer in prison than they were 10 years ago and will serve even more time behind bars under our new legislation.”

The Conservative government has come under increasing scrutiny over the past weeks for its failures to secure a higher conviction rate against rapists in the country.

A government review found that just three per cent of reported rapes in England and Wales resulted in prosecution in the 2019-20 reporting period, falling from 13 per cent five years ago.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, and Attorney General Michael Ellis wrote in a forward to the review that: “These are trends of which we are deeply ashamed,” adding: “Victims of rape are being failed.”

Labour MP David Lammy said that should the government fail to increase the number of prosecutions of rapists within the next year, Mr Buckland should resign.

“The justice secretary’s crocodile tears will mean nothing if the government fails to reverse its disastrous failure of rape victims,” Lammy said.

“The Conservatives’ decade of cuts to the justice system has let rapists and other violent criminals off the hook while denying victims justice.

“If he cannot reverse these figures within a year of his apology, the justice secretary should do the honourable thing and resign,” he demanded.

The Conservative government has also been subject to criticism from the political right in the country over its failures to tackle the scourge of mostly Muslim Pakistani child rape grooming gangs, with police forces across the country being accused of overlooking the heinous crimes out of politically correct fears.

Last year, for example, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found that police in Rotherham had overlooked abuse against children committed by members of so-called “Asian” grooming gangs out of fear of sparking racial tension in the area.

The report from the IOPC went on to reveal that a Rotherham police chief inspector told the father of a missing girl that the city “would erupt” if the public was made aware that South Asian grooming gangs were sexually abusing young white girls.

The evidence of this practice of covering up abuse was later backed up by a report from the Mayor of Greater Manchester, which found that officers were told to look at criminals of “other ethnicities” as a group of 97 South Asian heritage men were left free to sexually exploit dozens of young girls.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.